How Hungry is the Selfish Gene?
We examine resource allocation in step-households, in the United States and South Africa, to test whether child investments vary according to economic and genetic bonds between parent and child. We used 18 years of data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and compare food expenditure by family type, holding constant household size, age composition and income. We find that in those households in which a child is raised by an adoptive, step or foster mother, less is spent on food. We cannot reject the hypothesis that the effect of replacing a biological child with a non- biological child is the same, whether the non-biological child is an adoptive, step or foster child of the mother. In South Africa, where we can disaggregate food consumption more finely, we find that when a child's biological mother is the head or spouse of the head of household, the household spends significantly more on food, in particular on milk and fruit and vegetables, and significantly less on tobacco and alcohol. The genetic tie to the child, and not any anticipated future economic tie, appears to be the tie that binds.
|Date of creation:||Oct 1999|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Case, Anne, I-Fen Lin and Sara McLanahan. "How Hungry Is The Selfish Gene?," Economic Journal, 2000, v110(466,Oct), 781-804.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Case, Anne & Deaton, Angus, 1998.
"Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1330-61, September.
- Case, A. & Deaton, A., 1996. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," Papers 176, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
- Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1996. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 5572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bergstrom, Theodore C., 1993.
"A survey of theories of the family,"
Handbook of Population and Family Economics,
in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 21-79
- Bergstrom, T.C., 1993. "A Survey of Theories of the Family," Papers 93-02, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
- Ted Bergstrom, 1995. "A Survey of Theories of the Family," Papers _027, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
- Ted Bergstrom, 1994. "A Survey of Theories of the Family," Labor and Demography 9401001, EconWPA, revised 10 Oct 1994.
- Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1976.
"Child Endowments and the Quantity and Quality of Children,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S143-62, August.
- Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1976. "Child Endowments, and the Quantity and Quality of Children," NBER Working Papers 0123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Behrman, Jere R & Pollak, Robert A & Taubman, Paul, 1982. "Parental Preferences and Provision for Progeny," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(1), pages 52-73, February.
- Sheila Krein & Andrea Beller, 1988. "Educational attainment of children from single-parent families: Differences by exposure, gender, and race," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(2), pages 221-234, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7401. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.